After over two years of life in Zambia, I have finally decided to start a blog. I felt it was too difficult before to keep up with regular posts and whatever else that maintaining a blog entails, but we have finally reached the (almost) modern age in Serenje! In January we had satellite internet installed at the provincial house. (Actually, it was originally installed in November, but was struck by lightning a week later and stopped working.) While it doesn’t allow for super high-speed browsing, it is enough to watch videos, view photos, and of course, Facebook. So I have entered the world of modern technology, complete with a blog. I hope to keep it updated on a monthly basis with updates from my new position at Kasanka National Park.
For those of you who may not know – I am extending my contract with Peace Corps and will be staying in Zambia for an additional 13 months. I left my village that I lived in for the last two years last week, and will be moving to my new site next week. I will be working at Kasanka National Park, which is a small park that is located in Serenje District, about 150 kilometers from my current site. Kasanka is unique in that it is actually managed and funded by a private trust, Kasanka Trust Limited. I will be working under the Trust as a Community Relations Officer, doing outreach and education for community members in the surrounding villages. Mostly I will be focused on income generating activities – trying to develop sustainable alternatives to poaching, fishing, and other environmentally degrading practices. This will most likely include fish farming, beekeeping, organic farming, and production and processing of value-added foods. I will also be working to encourage ecotourism in the area, including some marketing and hospitality trainings.
I will be living in the park, still in a hut, but it will be a major upgrade from my current living conditions. I will still have a grass thatched roof, but it is much higher quality and better construction. I will also have solar-generated power and indoor plumbing – including hot water! KasankaNational Park is home to one of the world’s largest mammalian migrations – each October approximately 5 million Straw-colored Fruit Bats pass through the park for two to three months. Kasanka is also home to hippos, crocodiles, a small herd of elephants, many species of birds, and several different types of antelope, including sable, sitatunga, puku, and lechwe. For more information about the park, visit www.kasanka.com.
Starting tomorrow, I will be going on a short vacation for Easter. I am headed with a group of volunteers to Kapishya Hot Springs and then up to Lake Tanganyika. I’m looking forward to a few days of relaxing and hanging out with my friends before embarking on the next chapter in my life in Africa.